(Animated by Thoka Maer)



The candle was lit, for most of us, quite some time ago. We lose ourselves to the moment, the all-alluring glow of that borrowed flame. But it can be easily extinguished, and ultimately every wick has an end. So what is the “candle” for most of us, the flickering struggle we call existence?

It’s estimated that most of us (the homo-sapiens of Earth), the lucky ones (or unlucky, depending on your persuasion) will exist in a reasonably functional mortal state for approximately 28, 835 days. Around about 9, 516 of those days will be spent sleeping. Bringing our conscious waking life down to around 19, 319 days. Some estimations suggest most of us will spend some 125 days of our lives just waiting in traffic. Other studies claim we spend around 43 days of our lives on hold during phone calls. Bringing our number of days down to about 19, 151. Unfortunately, the trivial, unpleasant, monotonous moments stack up exponentially. So much so that it is almost human nature to resist acknowledging this reality. To resist truly thinking about how finite, how fleeting our existence here actually is.

Now the remaining 19 thousand or so days won’t all be good days, mind you, some of them you’ll be quite young and incapable of fending for yourself. Other days, you’ll be quite old and in a similar predicament, incapable of accurately perceiving the world around you. In fact, what could be considered the ‘ideal’, the Goldilocks zone of your life in its entirety, is quite a narrow window of time. Cellular aging is generally believed to begin for most people at about 25 years of age. Thus commencing the slow, yet steady beginning of the end…

On the authority of Herodotus, that in the banquets of the Egyptians a person was introduced who carried round the table at which the guests were seated the figure of a dead body, placed on a coffin, exclaiming at the same time, “Behold this image of what yourselves will be; eat and drink therefore, and be happy.”

—The Dance of Death, Francis Douce, 1833.

Many cultures around the Earth have come to understand the human desire to avoid the concept of mortality. So countless celebratory practices and reverence of death and the dead take place, so that one can be exposed to the sentiment, a memento mori. But why is it so important to be reminded of death?

Eternity is an awfully long time, ‘normality’ in this universe, does not consist with you (or I) as a constant. Eons unfold as infinite worlds form and dissolve, often without ever being named, and yet we treat a pittance of 100 years as a bottomless hourglass. Our life is finite, fragile and incredibly brief. I would say we are but a blip on a radar, but such an analogy would be giving our moment in the sun far more credit than it deserves. This isn’t said to encourage you to disregard your life or scare you into reckless or erratic behavior. But rather, realize if you want something out of this existence, you shouldn’t put it off, banking on time that may not exist. Don’t always assume there will be a tomorrow, because one day there won’t be.

Finally, at the end of it all, when space and time eludes you, whether there is anything beyond, or just one final moment of clarity. All said and done, were you the person you wanted to be? As you slip into the beyond or oblivion, would you be content to just let go, or would you plead, beg and fight for more time. Any amount of time.

Back to this very moment in your existence.

Days, weeks, months and years, ultimately, what is a lifetime if not a collection of moments. And the value is in these moments.

Unlike some (estimated) 110 billion deceased homo-sapiens that have already lived and died on this planet, you still have time for second, third, fourth, fifth chances.

Live a life worth dying for.

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